He’s won multiple EU LCS titles, he’s been to many international tournaments, and last year he even got to play in the grand final of Worlds. He's been playing League professionally for almost nine years since late 2010, and he's played the most professional games in Europe with 368 under his belt. Yet, Paul “sOAZ” Boyer is still only 25 years old. He’s starting a new chapter of his career in the LEC with Misfits, and he’s determined not to make it the final one.
“As long as I’m good at the game, I see myself playing for many more years,” sOAZ tells us after the first day of LEC competition. It’s an exciting time for European League of Legends, and even though he’s now a veteran of the scene having spent the majority of his career with Fnatic, he now has a fresh start on a new team.
“I turned 25 not too long ago, but it definitely feels like I'm a lot older than just 25,” he says, looking back on his career. “I don't want to say I’ve been lucky, but my way of playing fits my lane really well, and that's why I've been able to be at the top for so long. I don't see that changing. Even if the game changes, I've been able to adapt throughout the years. So I don't see that changing unless my motivation towards the game decreases.
“You still rely on the passion for the competition. It's interesting to me, and why I'm still playing the game. I just like to play with a team and play against others, compete, go to stadiums, and travel.”
With a start like Misfits have had in the LEC, early signs point towards sOAZ being able to get his wish and travel to more stadiums with Misfits. He actually sees his new team built partly from the mould of Fnatic.
"The way I see it is our team is somewhat Fnatic, but with a very different style. For example, Hans is a very aggressive player. Fnatic tend to play a lot towards mid and bottom, and it's a bit the same right now for us. But the players are playing a bit different. It's the same idea, but there are different players, and a different dynamic to it.”
It appears to be working well as it has been a dream start for the new roster, with Misfits taking down Rogue and SK Gaming in the first week of LEC action, but sOAZ isn’t getting carried away with lofty expectations just yet.
“I think on paper, the team works very well. We had a slow start overall, and right now we still need to find our gameplay and be able to synergise together. There’s still much for us to improve on.
“Every time you change teams you kind of forget all the things that you were doing with your past team. For example, my last memory of Fnatic is that we played at Worlds. Now I’m on a new team and we have to relearn absolutely everything, all the basics, together. Communication, gameplan, so many small things you acquired in the past, you just need to talk about it. It’s definitely a challenge, especially in the early part of the spring split.”
"Fnatic are not playing like I saw them do during Worlds."
Of course, one of the big stories of the spring split is the departure of sOAZ and Rasmus “Caps” Winther from Fnatic. An even bigger story now is that they’ve gone from being Worlds finalists to going 0-2 in their first week of the LEC.
“They are not playing like I saw them do during Worlds,” says sOAZ, trying to pick apart why his old team have started so poorly. “They’re just not confident in their play.
“Everyone expected Fnatic to take the game against SK, but we knew SK was a pretty good team as well from scrims weeks ago. First week of Spring Split, most of the teams have had a few weeks to play. Some teams are gonna be able to synergise faster than some. But the teams with the highest expectations are going to rise up at some point because they’re going to be better individually. It’s normal that at the start teams need to find synergy still."
There are certainly no hard feelings towards Fnatic from sOAZ, who spent much of the end of his time there on the bench behind Gabriel “Bwipo” Rau. He’s not even relishing the thought of possibly getting one over on his old team in competition.
“For me, Fnatic is the same as other teams,” he says. “I don't care too much, the only thing I want is to see us improve overall throughout the split. My goal is not to beat Fnatic or any one team, I just want to make it to Worlds and play there again, and have a chance to eventually take the trophy. This is my ultimate goal, and I'm gonna work towards that, rather than trying to beat Fnatic or thinking ‘G2 are really good’. I'm focusing much more on my team and myself rather than thinking of others."